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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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S4dS                                    LIFE  OF
boldt, the chief of his department, although he ex-
pressly endeavoured " to re-animate the people to
religious faith, and thus., in his department also, to
commence a new order of things/'
It may be considered inconsistent that Humboldt,
who had in former times determinedly opposed the
interference of the stcite with the education of its sub-
jects., should now with such zeal labour, not only to
effect a reform in instruction, but that education as
well as instruction be bestowed on the poorer classes.
This is indeed  a concession which the theoretician
made  to practical life.    His theory of uncontrolled
individual development could not be maintained in
face of the requirements  of reality of the German
national life, and of such a time when it was of the
utmost necessity to educate the people in a certain
direction. But nevertheless his ruling principle, which
he had  only modified,  not abandoned,   exercised a
beneficial influence.    Firstly, he ever kept sight of
the individual development as the grand aim, and the
more he had to do with those already advanced, the
more he left them at liberty to follow the bent of
their inclinations.   It is characteristic of this tendency,
that at the very time when he was reforming the
Prussian universities and founding a new splendid
one, he published an injunction, on the 28th April,
1810, which unconditionally repealed the law forbid-
ding Prussians to attend^ any foreign universities or
high schools.    And whenever it was possible, he acted
in this sense, especially with regard to the men whom
he had summoned to impart the sciences and higher
branches of education.    He endeavoured, not to lead
them, but to allow them perfect freedom of action, so
that he even, in the choice of new professors, sub-
mitted his judgment to that of Wolf and the scientific
deputation, and  only acted independently of them
when they deserted him.
The department of public instruction had long
needed such a reformer. Until the war it had been
presided over by the.Minister of Justice, von Masson,